Neverforgotten

Alejandra Algorta, illus. by Iván Rickenmann, trans. from the Spanish by Aida Salazar. Levine Querido, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64614-094-7
Bookended by striking charcoal illustrations, this kinetic dual-language novel by debut author Algorta visually introduces readers to the streets of Bogotá, Colombia, where its young protagonist roams, before diving into its tête-bêche bilingual narrative. Described in the back matter as a means “to evoke old photographs and memory,” the art immediately establishes the mood of Algorta’s lyrical tale. Fabio, a 10-year-old boy more comfortable on his salmon-colored bicycle than his own feet (“the son of Hecate, goddess of the wheel”), has navigated his city, delivered bread, and led a pack of neighborhood kids since he learned to pedal. But when a fall causes him to forget how to ride, a restless Fabio searches for a way to regain his ability to cycle, befriending older neighbor Alicia and questioning the truths of the world along the way. Told from the third-person perspective, Algorta’s narrative glides with skillful pacing and poetic yet accessible language; Rickenmann’s soft, detail-rich illustrations tonally match the refined internal rhythm of Algorta’s prose (“When he was on his bicycle, the dust danced with him”), supported by Salazar’s (Land of the Cranes) faithful, sophisticated translation. Ages 8–12. Agent (for Algorta): Pablo de la Vega, Babel Libros; (for Salazar) Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 08/18/2021
Release date: 08/01/2021
Genre: Children's
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